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When it comes to precious stones, diamonds are exquisite and unrivaled. If you want to know which C is the most important, then you already know about the four characteristics that allow you to distinguish the crème de la crème among diamonds: cut, clarity, color, and carat.
Each plays an important part in determining a stone’s quality and price. But which one should you prioritize when purchasing diamond jewelry?
The answer is it all depends on your preference. To help you answer the question, however, let’s have a quick recap of the four C’s:
- Cut – Refers to how well the facets, angles, symmetry, and polish are made
- Clarity – Takes into account any flaws or inclusions
- Color – Considers how colorless the diamond is
- Carat – Refers to the diamond’s weight (one carat equals 0.20 grams)
As mentioned, your most important C will depend on what you value most in your stone. Given the diamond’s renown for being brilliant, it makes sense to put a premium on the C that has the most impact on this characteristic.
Among the 4 Cs, the cut is what makes a diamond sparkle the way it does. The higher the cut grade, the more dazzling the diamond is, making it the most important C among the four.
Let’s delve into this particular C and proceed to the other C’s in order of importance.
Cut refers to the quality of a diamond’s facets or flat surfaces that act as mirrors in reflecting light. The angles, proportion, and polish of these facets determine a diamond’s cut grade. The grade range categorizes diamonds as either excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor.
When buying a diamond, a certified excellent to good cut grade is ideal as it maximizes the way a diamond sparkles when light hits it.
The cut grade affects how light is refracted and reflected. The higher the cut grade, the more intense the diamond’s fire, brilliance, and scintillation when it’s viewed face up.
Fire refers to the spectrum of rainbow colors we see when light hits the stone. Brilliance is the blinding white light, and scintillation is the combination of these two. All these make up a diamond’s light performance, otherwise recognized as that sparkling quality we all love.
Cut is important because one can get the best color, clarity, or even the highest carat but if the stone is poorly cut, it won’t dazzle as much as it should.
After cut, color is the next aspect to put a premium on when shopping for diamond jewelry. The diamond’s colorlessness or near colorlessness adds to its visual appeal.
A diamond’s colorlessness distinguishes it from other precious stones that are all infused with certain colors. The grading scale for diamond color is from D to Z with D, E, and F being the most colorless and expensive while S to Z are lightly colored and relatively cheaper.
While inclusions or flaws are naturally embedded in mined diamonds, stones are graded from flawless to included. These terms describe its purity and affect the price. Flawless diamonds are extremely rare, highly coveted, and very expensive.
The kind of inclusion, amount of inclusions, and where these inclusions are located affect a diamond’s clarity grade. Diamond clarity uses the following scale when viewed at 10x magnification:
- Flawless (FL) – perfect clarity, no inclusions
- Internally Flawless (FL) – have minimal inclusions at corners or externally
- Very Very slightly Included (VVS) – possesses minute flaws that cannot be detected even by trained eyes
- Very Slightly Included (VS) – contains flaws that can be detected
- Slightly Included (SI) – flaws are easy to spot
- Included (I) – imperfections are visible to the naked eye
Carat refers to the weight of the diamond. It has nothing to do with size or how much a diamond sparkles.
A one-carat diamond may look bigger or smaller depending on its shape. Expect elongated shapes like oval and marquise diamonds to look larger than round ones. The carat should be the least of your concerns if a diamond’s sparkle is your priority, especially when there are some simple tricks to make the diamond look bigger.
However, if your budget is unlimited, there’s certainly no reason why you can’t go for a heavy stone that shines and takes up more space.
The Bottom-line: Don’t Get Hooked on Grades
When deciding on a diamond, don’t get too preoccupied with grade certifications. The truth is, differences in color and clarity are very minimal and may not even matter visually.
People look at a diamond and appreciate its beauty based on what they see, not based on what’s on paper. They don’t normally carry optical gadgets with them to scrutinize a diamond. They simply stare and become impressed by its resplendent glare.
Always consider the four Cs together with your budget. If you want a blindingly brilliant diamond, go for a high cut grade. But if size matters to you more than sparkle, a higher carat in a shape that magnifies a diamond’s actual size should be your top criteria.
Why Choose Othergems?
Othergems is proud of its exquisite jewelry pieces that exhibit painstaking craftsmanship.
With over three decades of diamond expertise, every stone in our collection is of the highest quality and is recognized by diamond authorities in New York and the world. Our diamonds exude extraordinary brilliance because they’re infused with timeless creativity, passion, and vision.
We offer only the finest curated collection of diamond engagement rings, wedding bands, and other fine jewelry pieces. Othergems is also recognized for custom designs that make your dream diamond jewelry a reality.
Contact us to add some diamond sparkle to your life.